Corporate partnerships are an exciting opportunity for charities because they can help increase your impact by generating fundraising income and non-financial value. However, it can be daunting when you start with a blank page. So here are our five recommendations to get you started:
Build your proposition
Your proposition is your offer for companies. It packages up your charity to make you more attractive to corporate decision makers. As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” So, make sure your proposition communicates your “why.” The best way to do this is to share an emotionally engaging story about how your charity helped one of your service users. Also share the urgent problem you want companies to help you solve.
Identify target prospects
The best way to identify your target prospects is to start with contact mapping. We recommend you invite your Trustees and well-connected colleagues to a 30-minute meeting and ask them to share at least five corporate contacts each. When Learning with Parents ran a contact mapping session, they discovered that their CEO had a contact at IG Group. So, they followed steps 3-5 below and 18 months later they secured a three-year partnership worth £750k!
Brainstorm a partnership opportunity
Creating ambitious corporate partnerships isn’t about asking companies for money. This is off-putting and makes them think you just see them as big bank accounts! You are much more likely to succeed if you approach them with an exciting partnership opportunity that is tailored for their company. The best way to create this opportunity is to organise a brainstorm with colleagues and start by identifying your shared purpose. Then you can identify their business priorities, suggested partnership activity and the big benefit for the company.
Secure a meeting
Booking a meeting with your target prospect is one of the most important steps. It’s easier to secure a meeting if you have a contact at the company, because we are more likely to buy from someone that we know, like and trust. According to the Rain Group, it takes an average of eight approaches to secure a meeting. This means you will need to be persistent. In this new hybrid working environment, we recommend you use a combination of tailored and engaging emails and send something creative in the post.
Pitch their socks off!
As they say in Dead Poet’s Society, you want to “seize the day” when you meet with your target prospect. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression. We recommend you start the meeting by asking the company to share their top priorities and challenges. This is a great way to check you made the right assumptions in your brainstorm. Then you want to share your pitch. It should last a maximum of eight minutes, so you don’t lose their attention. The most important elements of your pitch are your story, shared purpose, and suggested partnership activity. The aim of this meeting is to secure a second meeting, because it will take you at least three meetings to secure an ambitious corporate partnership.
We hope you found this blog inspiring and useful. If you have any thoughts or would like to speak to Jonathan then visit Remarkable Partnerships.